Saturday September 30, 2023

Minor League Pitcher Helps Change Baseball With Stadium Custom Kicks

  • Alex Katz, a pitcher within the Kansas City Royals organization, started the company in 2017.
  • Now with 10 contract artists, Stadium Custom Kicks has worked on shoes for more than 100 players, including Felix Hernandez.
Felix Hernandez
Photo Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

Donovan McNabb and the State of Football

From Taylor Swift to the Prime Effect, there's a lot going on in the world of football.
Listen Now
September 29, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

During last year’s MLB Players Weekend, more than 100 players wore cleats customized by Stadium Custom Kicks, a company founded by minor leaguer Alex Katz.

While Katz is still aiming to reach the majors as a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization, he’s also leading one the few customizers authorized by MLB. The league relaxed its once-strict footwear stance in November 2018, moving away from a rule that dictated cleats had to be at least 51% a color chosen by teams.

The new rules open up opportunities for entrepreneurs like Katz, but also an avenue for players to express individuality and potentially attract more fans. 

“When I started customizing in 2017, it wasn’t super popular, and most clients were getting their first custom pairs from us,” Katz said. “We’re helping change the game a little bit. It’s something baseball lacked and still lacks compared to basketball and even football. 

“Youth participation rates are low compared to what they used to be; maybe if you up the cool factor, it will go up,” he said.

Katz got into customization when he was a member of Team Israel during the 2016 World Baseball Classic, and he wanted to spice up his team-issued black cleats. Coming out of the global event, he worked on some shoes with a friend, and before long, they’d launched a business and Instagram page. Now, Stadium Custom Kicks contracts with 10 artists, growing from 10 pairs a month the first year to now on pace for more than 600 pairs a year.

“It’s artwork on a shoe, it’s our canvas,” Katz said. “We can paint any design imaginable – all our artists have their own styles – solid colors or portraits.”

Stadium Custom Kicks works on custom designs – starting at approximately $160 for the artwork – to pre-designed shoes customers can buy on the company’s website, starting at $170. Katz said the company has low overhead and is pretty much just labor as they have a paint sponsorship with Jacquard Products. Katz declined to disclose the company’s revenue.

Beyond Los Angeles Angels outfield Mike Trout’s deal with Nike and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper’s deal with Under Armour, few baseball players garner shoe deals like basketball stars.

Harper has helped push the custom trend, trotting out a pair of Supreme x Louis Vuitton custom cleats in 2018. The New York Times detailed the customization trend in 2016, explaining the difficulties for players to express themselves through uniforms and cleats.

Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price openly called for a rule change before MLB’s decision, while other players like Ben Zobrist and Mike Clevinger were fined for their footwork that didn’t meet the league’s 51% rule.

Katz said his company is working with Atlanta Braves pitcher Felix Hernandez on helping push  customized sneaker culture forward in baseball. Hernandez wears the same design on his shoes that he wears to the stadium that is on his cleats during the game. 

“He’s focused on branding himself and pushing that idea, and he’s a big name,” Katz said. “He’s selling those same designs he wears on his website.”

Katz said the coronavirus pandemic has allowed him to concentrate more on Stadium Custom Kicks, but he’s not ready to hang up his cleats. 


Former NHL Defenseman Tells Canadian Stories Through Whitby Watch Co.

Former NHL defenseman Jay Harrison is sharing Canadian stories and a message…
April 2, 2019

“It works out perfectly, because I do paint when I’m home in the winter, but I can run the business from wherever, even during the season when we have downtime,” Katz said. “i plan on playing baseball as long as I can. I’d much rather be playing right now.”

As Katz grows the company, he’s eager to continue making a mark in sports. While most of its clients are in baseball, he said there were eight pairs of his shoes on the field at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

“Any major sporting event, we’ve had at least one pair,” Katz said.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Deion Sanders with The Rock on ESPN's "College GameDay."

Deion Sanders Generated $45M In Earned Media For Colorado

From Sept.1-22, Sanders generated $45.7M for the public university.
Philadelphia Eagles jerseys.

Fanatics Fumbles Eagles Merchandise, Pauses Future Shipments

Michael Rubin has apologized for crooked Eagles apparel sent to fans.
Patrick Mahomes

NFL Media Machine Continues To Dominate In Week 1

NBC and CBS posted their best Week 1 viewership since 2015.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Donovan McNabb and the State of Football


Featured Today

Ryder Cup’s Future Hanging In The Balance Amid Saudi Disruption

An unexpected change could be coming to the Ryder Cup.
September 29, 2023

Colorado Has Become the Hollywood of College Football. This Weekend Proves It.

Folsom Field will welcome dozens of Hollywood stars on Saturday.
Toy Story
September 29, 2023

‘Toy Story’ Success Could Lead to More Disney-Branded NFL Kid-Casts

A successful ‘Toy Story’ game could open the door for other franchises.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on field after the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
September 29, 2023

Taylor Swift Shaking Up Travis Kelce, Chiefs Prop Betting Market

Sportsbooks are capitalizing with Taylor Swift-themed prop bets.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
Mahomes’ restructured Chiefs deal will pay him $210.6 million through 2026, the most in NFL history over a four-year span.

Patrick Mahomes Restructures Chiefs Contract for Historic Payday

Mahomes' restructured deal breaks the NFL record for a four-year span.
Simona Halep
September 18, 2023

Former World No. 1 Simona Halep Says ‘There Is No Proof’ Behind Doping Ban

Simona Halep continues to fight her doping ban.
September 15, 2023

Eli Manning: Keep MetLife Field Turf

Eli Manning feels that MetLife Stadium should keep its artificial turf field.
September 12, 2023

Rodgers’ Season-Ending Injury Carries Huge Business Impacts

Marquee quarterback lost for entire season just four plays into first game
Joe Burrow’s $275 million deal makes him the league’s highest-paid player, with an average annual salary of $55 million per year.
September 11, 2023

The 10 Highest-Paid NFL Quarterbacks

Burrow's $275M extension is second to Patrick Mahomes' Chiefs deal.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with the championship trophy after his match against Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final on day fourteen of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
September 10, 2023

Novak Djokovic Extends Majors, Money Records With U.S. Open Win

Djokovic extends his all-time record men’s major victories (24).
Coco Gauff of the United States celebrates with the championship trophy after her match against Aryna Sabalenka in the women's singles final on day thirteen of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
September 9, 2023

Coco Gauff Arrives With U.S. Open Victory, Secures $3M Payday

Gauff earns $3 million for her first career Grand Slam victory.
Travis Kelce
September 7, 2023

Travis Kelce Talks Positional Values, Players Sports Betting Ahead of NFL Season

Kelce says tight ends should be paid off of production metrics.